UK Man Convicted Over Manga Images

Discussion in 'News' started by magigreen, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. Acteon

    Acteon Behind you...

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    I'm not sure anime is "new" to this country anymore. This site alone is almost 20 years old, and MCM gets 70,000 visitors over a weekend. It's not like the old days when fan-run conventions were the norm. The current Telegraph film reviewer often references anime and in 2003 Sprited Away won an Oscar. This medium may still be niche, but it certainly isn't the special interest it used to be.
     
    #21 Acteon, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2014
  2. Robert Frazer

    Robert Frazer Registered

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    I'm really sorry, Ross, but I'm afriad you're being far too sanguine. Film critics don't like anime, they like Miyazaki, and they like Miyazaki not because he's an animator but because he's an auteur. Now that they've filed their The Wind Rises reviews and copy-pasted their sentences about how it's his "most personal film yet" they can put their charming Oriental ornament back in its box in the attic and stop pretending to care. Yes, there might have been a wild card in Spirited Away but that wasn't a sign of acceptance and welcome, that was an insulting upset. It is the exception that proves the rule - no uppity Chinese Cartoon will ever be even allowed to win at the Oscars again. MCM might get 70,000 visitors, but only a fraction are there for the anime and in any case, getting 50% of the country's geeks is still less than 0.5% of the actual population. It really doesn't mean anything in terms of the mainstream.

    Anime will always and forever be tainted by association with the pimply coke-bottle glasses neeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrddddsss. No-one can resist this. For at least a decade of tabloid hacks looking to phone in easy sneering copy, for a whole generation of unimaginative legislators frightened by these weird and strange moving pictures who are never going to put the interests of internet losers over the indignant shrieks of the Ban This Sick Filth brigade, anime will remain a pariah. Assuming it even survives that long.

    I don't say that I like or approve of this situation, but while I hate to sound pessimistic these are the facts of the case.
     
    #22 Robert Frazer, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  3. Acteon

    Acteon Behind you...

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    That might be a bit too far the other way - anime does have its fans in the mainstream media, and we're light years away from where we were in the 90's. I agree in so much as it'll never go mainstream or become accepted as an "adult" medium in the non-sexual sense. I also agree that anime = nerd to most people. However, with shows like Big Bang Theory and the IT Crowd being incredibly popular, I think we're seen as less of a threat than we were, which is why news stories as piss-poorly produced as this one feel like a massive slap in the face.
     
  4. Robert Frazer

    Robert Frazer Registered

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    Eh... I see where you're coming from but I don't agree. With shows like them they're not laughing with us, Ross, they're laughing at us. We're something to belittle and snigger at, to be pushed around and mocked. As soon as it stops being funny, we get slapped back in place, viz. this article. Anime remains a moral threat, and they're still very ready to condemn us all as closet rapists where we're not sadsack manchildren.
     
    #24 Robert Frazer, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  5. dapprman

    dapprman Registered

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    Most of you are far to young (or not even born at the time) to remember the first big push in this country to sell anime (by Manga). Aside from Akira, all the rest of the initial anime released over here were either violent and/or contained sex/rape. Much was made of this at the time as well.

    Oh and yes I know you could get Bubble Gum Crisis and a number of Miyazaki movies here for a cost - but those were limited runs found in the foreign movie sections of big video stores only (and occasional Channel 4 showing for some of the movies)
     
  6. Necro

    Necro Grim User

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    That's fine though and perfectly legal, nobody is getting arrested or having any sort of freedom restricted. It would be a different matter if someone complained that they found a painting distasteful and had it removed, and the gallery owner was then arrested for it.

    Might just be me but so long as it's drawn there is no reason for it to be illegal. No matter how realistic, depraved and "offensive", no victim, no crime. If people want to throw the whole "it'll make people turn to the real thing" argument around, what about the counter of it acting as a substitute?

    As for it being traced pornography, I find that a tad farfetched to believe. But for the sake of argument, the artist should be arrested, not anyone in possession of the new, drawn image.

    Yep. I dislike BBT because at the same time as popularising "geek" culture and bringing it to the mainstream, it's still laughable to be a genuine geek. "****ing loving" science and wearing marvel t-shirts? Acceptable. Collecting anime memorabilia and having in-depth knowledge of sci-fi TV and film? Massive loser suitable for ridicule.
     
  7. Acteon

    Acteon Behind you...

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    Agreed, BBT and IT Crowd are laughing at us, but honestly I enjoy the fact that there are shows on TV that reflect a lot of real-life experiences I've had. I have worked with far geekier guys than Moss, and lets face it, they win as much as they lose (the pandemonium caused by Jen dropping "the internet" beautifully plays up the ignorance most managers have of IT). One of our IT support guys was locked in a cupboard by a mad Thai woman because he didn't have a part - that'd make a killer episode of the IT Crowd :)

    Also, remember that someone had to pitch these shows and make the characters likeable and endearing - BBT wouldn't be one of the top US comedies if the cast were all completely abhorrent sexual deviants.

    Also, it's not just us. Most people view politicians as slime. Footballers as thick. Football fans as hooligans. The EU as corrupt (though I kinda agree with that one!). Generalisations are not going away, the best we can do is jump on the bias and call it for what it is. This is one crap and ignorant journalist publishing a poorly written piece in a local ad rag that has been picked up by one of the worst national papers in the country. The legal implications are the worrying part.

    I'm perhaps in the unique position that my hobbies have never done anything other than enhance my career and make me friends. Everyone who comes into my Huddersfield office admires the awesome photo of Akihabara that JamTea took adorning my wall (anime girls in swimsuits on the billboards and all!), and the original signed Transformers artwork I have framed at my office at home has always attracted admiring, nostalgic glances. Clients even bring their kids over to meetings during school holidays because they know I'm the guy with all the consoles and cool toys that their kids love. I'm not seen as some pervert for them to be afraid of because I'm an adult that watches cartoons.

    Hell, my business partner found out one of our largest Australian clients has a son mad for anime, so we've just sent them a care package of stuff out of my cupboard. That's been greeted very warmly.

    So my hobbies help my life, they don't define or limit it.

    One of the reasons for creating UKA was to have a site that presents anime professionally, written by people passionate for the medium and articulate enough to make it stand up to scrutiny and comparison to other news websites. We're incredibly fortunate to have that in spades - the industry certainly thinks we're important and I'm very proud to be associated with it.
     
  8. Martin

    Martin guitaku
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    I don't know what I can add to the discussion after what's already been said, but this case concerns me on two major levels.

    Firstly, it's p***-poor reporting, which is tolerated at best and actively welcomed by its readers at worst. Lazy stereotyping and unjustified generalisations don't matter as long as they keep selling papers, and quite frankly so many people in this country are either morons or willfully ignorant that fact-checking and honest journalism don't matter any more. We're in the grip of a moral panic where the news media has convinced the public that murderous paedophiles and perverts are everywhere, so this sort of story fits in well with the Operation Yewtree-fuelled hysteria that's fashionable right now. A juicy story about some maladjusted nerd who's had the book thrown at him for being a sexual deviant. Ker-ching!

    Secondly, this does set a dangerous precedent because someone can now be hammered by the law for simply having an interest in dodgy drawings if the courts choose to interpret it that way. The lousy reporting (see my first point) makes it hard to tell just how guilty he is, but the fact remains that this is more a case of "making an example of someone" than "an act of justice that's proportional and fair." Presumably, the police were under a lot of pressure to be seen to be doing something about protecting the nation's kids, so this particular offender was an easy target that would provide a much-needed change of tune after things like Yewtree, Rotherham, Birmingham and all the rest (trust me, Middlesbrough has A LOT of more serious social issues to deal with than this!).

    I don't approve of the sort of thing that this fellow was indulging in either, but there are many other personal preferences and sexual behaviours that I personally disapprove of as well. That doesn't make them dangerous, or 'wrong' in an objective sense: as long as there are no victims, there's no crime committed.

    In short, the justice system saw some low-hanging fruit that conveniently diverted attention away from their years - and possibly decades - of failings on a national level, and the news media reacted in its typical knee-jerk sloppy manner. It's just a shame that this waste of police time and resources could've been better spent on something else. After all, recent days have seen a public admission that the sheer size of online crime, especially in regards to crime against children, is outstripping the funding provided to tackle it.
     
  9. megalomaniac

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    I remain thoroughly unconvinced that's not just scaremongering and part of the wider clampdown on the "evil" Internet we've seen with the likes of GCHQ's shenanigans, Cameron's Internet censorship, etc. They see the Internet as a threat to their power and are determined to bring it under control, convincing everyone that the Internet is some kind of lawless wasteland that needs to be clamped down hard on is part of that process...
     
  10. rjessop

    rjessop Registered

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    It's been a long time since this was debated in Parliament, but if I remember correctly one of the reasons posited for it being a crime is that such images could be used for the purposes of grooming; i.e. that cartoons are a normal thing for children to enjoy and could be used to normalise sexual contact etc.

    I don't know how often (if at all) such images are used in that way and I don't know how to find out, but it sounds superficially plausible at least.

    Seems to me (and I think someone said this at the time) that showing an image to someone is publishing (in a sense) and publishing obscene materials is already illegal, but this new offense (possession) would make it easier to convict as it's easier to prove.
     
  11. latro

    latro Anime Editor
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    Its made international news - ken akamatsu has been commenting.
     
  12. Shiroi Hane

    Shiroi Hane Baka Ranger

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    You remind me of the fuss a few years back about an artwork that was a photo of two nude girls (it has "bellydancing" in the title and IIRC was, at least at one point, owned by Elton John IIRC)
     
  13. Necro

    Necro Grim User

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    That's a very valid point. However, I still think it's a bit extreme to outright criminalise it. There's doubtless dozens of other things that could be used in a similar manner which people aren't prosecuted over.
     
  14. megalomaniac

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    It's actually not - like many of the things politicians & the mainstream media spout it's a very reasonable sounding point with absolutely no support in evidence. A bit like violent video games cause violence in children. It sounds like it could be true but it's not backed up by the evidence, actually with violent games many studies found quite the opposite.
     
  15. Necro

    Necro Grim User

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    Well it's not something we'd particularly like evidence for is it ;) But as far as arguments for this go, it's the one that I find the most convincing. Using violence as an example doesn't really worth though, as that would be saying that an inherently negative thing is normal. There's nothing wrong with sex as it is, it's the age which is wrong, unlike violence where stabbing someone always has a bad outcome.

    I understand what you're saying though, and I don't see it as an argument on its own. But as a single point I thought it was good.
     
  16. Martin

    Martin guitaku
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    This is what's so worrying about cases like this: the connection between what this defendant did and the potential to cause actual harm is so tenuous, because there's been so little evidence to support it. "Innocent until proven guilty" is supposedly* the basis of the justice system, which means the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that the defendant did something wrong. This time though it seems that someone can be found guilty based on...what exactly? The subjective personal opinion of a judge or magistrate that the material is harmful and objectionable? "I don't know what this stuff is, but it's probably bad," doesn't sound like a sound case to me, but apparently it was enough to convict someone.

    From what I've read since the initial story, he's been given a suspended sentence, i.e. he won't be jailed or anything as long as he doesn't re-offend. I'm not sure whether that spares him from being put on the sex offenders' register though.

    *I say 'supposedly' purely because I'm cynical ;)
     
  17. Necro

    Necro Grim User

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    Which is the worst part of the punishment. Permanently screwed.
     
  18. rjessop

    rjessop Registered

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    Indeed! There quite rightly isn't an ethics committee anywhere in the civilised world that'd approve an experiment where children are groomed for abuse. Well, let's hope not anyway...

    If I remember correctly (again, this was a long time ago*, 2008/9?) the NSPCC claimed to have have direct reports of that happening and submitted those claims in the bill's consultation period. The NSPCC are of course a campaigning special interest group (so can't claim to be disinterested) and as far as I know never published figures relating to extent, but that's not to say that the evidence doesn't exist. It may not be for public consumption owing to the nature of the crimes and the victims' right to anonymity, as any detailed report may contain potentially identifying information. It may also be completely made up of course!

    Parliament being legally sovereign is not obliged to make evidence based policy or to make all of its evidence relating to policies public (though I think this is desirable in most cases). Even if there had never been a single case of using pornographic art to groom, politicians may still want to make possession illegal on precautionary grounds, as they may judge the harm caused to imprisoned offenders to be less than the harm potentially caused to abused children.

    From what I remember of reading Nick Cohen (who in addition to being my favourite very tall polemicist also writes brilliantly on the subject of free expression in his book "You Can't Read This Book" available in all good bookstores [including those that probably pay tax]) what counts as obscene is decided in court rather than by rules in a parliamentary act per se. It was the American Supreme Court Judge Potter Stuart who famously wrote that "Hard core pornography" was hard to define, but that "I'll know it when I see it.".

    *Not that it particularly matters, but my knowledge of this act was from back in the day when I used to read The Register, before I realised that the owner/editor was a climate change denying crank and stopped.
     
  19. magigreen

    magigreen Registered

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  20. Weirdo

    Weirdo UKA Editor in Chief
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    Excellent link.
     

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